Juan Ángel Martínez González manages two establishments in Aýna, Albacete: a rural hostel and a three-star green rural house. They started this hotel adventure 24 years ago. Aýna is a tourist town on the slopes of the Sierra de Segura that lacked accommodation options, so they decided to convert a family building into a guesthouse first, and in 2009, into a rural hostel. Later, they opened the rural house.
How did you experience the post-pandemic period?
Actually, we did well. Castilla-La Mancha is a fairly large community and people have been traveling. In 2020, we had higher revenue than in 2019. It was fewer months, but with much more intensity, especially in July, August, September, and some of October. People opted for rural tourism because they didn't want to go to the beaches, and we had a lot of domestic tourism, people who were used to going to the beach but preferred rural tourism. This year, we also had a good number of customers except for the month of February when we were closed. In March, we reopened and had a lot of work. Most of our guests were from Castilla-La Mancha.
What is your daily work routine like?
We have ten rooms in the hostel and another ten in the apartment. The truth is that we made a significant leap when we started selling online with Redforts. We made a transformation on our website to be able to sell online and also, at the same time, start selling through OTAs like Booking, Expedia, Airbnb... but we wanted to be able to do it from our website first to compete with them, as they charge high commissions.
How did you find out about Redforts?
We were looking for different channels and booking engines, and that's when we found the Redforts software through a colleague who was already using it, a colleague from Posada Peñarrubia. One of the features that led us to choose Redforts was the integration of the search engine with our website, which is designed in WordPress.
Since when have you been using Redforts?
Since the end of 2018.
Has it met your needs?
Yes. We are very happy with how easy it is to set up an establishment. It has many features that we don't use. The most used feature is the online booking. We also use the option to sell extras like extra beds or tickets to the municipal swimming pool (we offer them to our guests for free). It is also very useful for preparing breakfast because guests can inform us, for example, if they need a gluten-free breakfast. Or to manage a bottle of cava, which is included in our welcome package.
Of the features, is there any that has surprised you especially?
I am surprised by people who don't use a channel when they sell on Booking or similar sites because being able to guarantee that you don't have overbooking is a great relief. We also like the ability to change and manage prices, to use different prices for different channels and different seasons or days. That kind of thing is very useful for offering the best service at the best price.
What do you think of the usability of the program?
It is very easy to use. The ability to drag and drop in the panel makes management much easier, moving a reservation from one place to another. You can also extend or delete it. It also allows us to manage reservations through our mobile phones when we are away from the establishment. We receive a phone request for a reservation, and we can open it on the mobile and confirm the reservation to the customer. Then there is the option to send a welcome email and the option to check out. The cancellation functionality, in particular, is very useful as it provides a written record: the conditions, check-in and check-out dates, etc. It guarantees that the customer has received the reservation confirmation in their email.
Do you find it affordable?
Yes. The good thing is that when you are going to contract with Redforts, you can create the budget yourself on the homepage of the website: you choose how many channels you want to sell on, how many accommodations you have, and it automatically shows you the cost.
Redforts is a collaborative project, have you noticed any improvements?
Yes, they have added improvements over time: cancellation, packages, the ability to sell with a payment system adapted to the bank to be able to charge in advance...
Have you proposed any improvements?
Yes. I mentioned the issue of cancellation, that we felt that if you don't send an email at the time of cancellation, there is no record. The truth is that the team responds quickly, even outside of business hours. They also usually respond quickly by email. Any problem you have, sometimes even small things, you realize that they adapt to it quickly.